Routes to Independence Five: Change is Coming

The fastest way to get to independence is to move opinion then trigger a vote. The fastest way to move opinion is to form a solid, shared strategy and then put our shoulders behind it, argues Robin McAlpine.

This is a follow-up to the article published in Bella (and reprinted in the Sunday National) at the weekend. When Mike first asked me to do 800 words on ‘where now’ with a short turnaround, I didn’t expect quite so much debate about it – so he has asked me to do a follow-up. I just want to make two points – trying to get a referendum now is the real ‘do nothing’ option while starting a campaign now is the active, front-foot option.

To recap, I start from the assumption that what people want is independence as quickly as is possible. My analysis is that the best way to achieve this is absolutely not to try and trigger a referendum from where we stand.

There are three primary reasons for that. First, it simply drags the entire debate about independence into one about process – it just gives unionists the ability to focus on saying ‘no more referendums’, the one message that has some resonance with our target group (soft No voters).

It gets unionists off the hook of having to defend the mess that is the UK right now and lets them focus on a simple, repetitive and destructive message – they’re saying ‘put your head in the sand’, and I’m afraid that in early 2019 that’s an attractive option for many.

So let’s stay away from talking about referendums and let’s instead talk about independence. Because the next problem is two-fold – either we do it the ‘procedural’ way and ask for a Section 30 order which will be rejected or we do it the ‘less procedural’ way with a consultative referendum and spend a year in various courts as it is challenged. (I have reliable sources which tell me the UK Government has taken legal advice on this and is confident of the outcome.)

Either way, we’d end up spending a year talking about the least attractive thing for voters (referendums, tiring parliamentary procedures, long and ugly court battles) and not making a positive case. (Please don’t pretend that the procedures won’t push the positive debate out the window because it will.)

And at the end of this we’ll have a weary, bored public who manage to be sick of hearing about independence even though they haven’t actually heard anything about independence. Like last time (June 2017), there’s a very big risk we’ll bounce them into being unreceptive at just the wrong moment – and we still won’t get a referendum.

I labour this point because I want people to understand that asking for a referendum now is (in my judgement) about the best way to delay independence. Because if I’m right about the above we’ll probably end up needing to ‘pause’ the case like Nicola Sturgeon did in 2017 (which was not a good look) – and it will be happening just before a Holyrood election.

My heartfelt plea is to avoid the two-year error that would be a rash charge into the wrong battle at the wrong time.

I understand why some people think that sounds like ‘wait and see’. Many have been unfairly led to believe that another referendum was on the horizon and if you’ve got your hopes up because of that I understand how it feels to have those hopes challenged.

But I’m afraid those were false hopes. Forget what you’ve heard or read – at no point over the last two years have we been close to an immanent announcement of a referendum. It is waiting and waiting for something that isn’t coming which is the passive course of action.

The active course of action is to start a proper national campaign now (no more waiting), and it is that I’m fighting for. Some people say ‘but this is just a delay’, as if achieving majority support among the Scottish population isn’t one of our key tasks. It is, and if it comes first, all our other tasks will be completed much faster.

Which leads to anxieties that we can’t convert No voters to being independence supporters outside a referendum, in part because of a hostile media. Some people think we’ve tried and it hasn’t been working.

This is just defeatism – though if what you mean is ‘we can’t convert people if there’s no leadership, no coordination, no proper work on messaging and campaigning, no good materials, no answers to key questions, no resource, no infrastructure and if those with a media profile won’t make the case’ then I’ve got a lot more sympathy.

Because that’s where we are. I spend much of any given year traveling the country talking to Yes groups and SNP branches who are all making valiant efforts to keep things going, to run some kind of campaign. But they virtually all express strong frustration that they get no support and no back-up, that there is no plan or strategy to coordinate with.

They’re right – and the outcome is alarming. The penetration of the independence movement’s campaigning among our core target audience (soft Nos) is terrible. A lot has been invested in public attitude research by the Scottish Independence Convention and it is hard to find any evidence of people being aware of an independence campaign at all other than Nicola Sturgeon on the TV. Can you name the street stalls you saw out the corner of your eye when you were shopping at the weekend?

So first, don’t say we can’t change minds until we try properly. Which leads us to the question of how you do it. Here I want quite deliberately to not emphasise the detail of my own personal preferred strategy. Instead I just want to make the case for why strategies (and the infrastructure to implement them) are a good idea.

Because the world is stuffed to the gunnels with campaigning, from tiny local activist groups to giant, incredibly well funded and powerful international bodies. This is not new territory, it’s an incredibly well-rehearsed and extensively-analysed sphere of activity – especially when you realise that advertising and marketing have the same basic function.

Put very simply, there is very widespread knowledge among people who do it of what works and what doesn’t work. For example, in recent years there has been a big increase in the focus on ‘storytelling’ as research has increasingly identified the fact that humans tend to form their opinions not based on facts but based on stories. Stories are facts and emotions placed in a chronological order with the listener at their heart which help people to understand how the facts and emotions ‘move them’ from one place to another, from one opinion to another.

Right now most campaigners would tell you that reciting facts outside of stories is actually a major turn-of for people. To compare and contrast, the Remain campaign worked mainly by barking facts at people while the Leave campaign told a simple story about self respect and personal agency.

We’re still barking facts and statements. ‘The UK is collapsing and only independence will save you’ is not a story but an assertion. The same point but threaded into a story just works much better:

“Remember when your community pulled together and pooled its resources to make things better for everyone? Remember when we trusted each other? And do you remember when Westminster started to chip away at that togetherness, at that trust? How can we regain our trust and togetherness if we’re stuck with the very Parliament which has done so much to undermine them?”

Another lesson is that people are most likely to form opinions based on what their peers are saying (and not on social media…). So we need to get lots of short, sharp messages (the Americans call them ‘talking points’) out and into public conversation. Hearing two people at your local cafe or at parents night repeating one of these messages, telling one of these stories, is worth much more than hearing it from a politician.

So there is something of a revolution in campaign theory just now which is about routes of communication – how messages reach people. It is nothing to do with left or right politics, but the Bernie Sanders campaign used a very impressive range of techniques to bypass the fact that they had virtually zero media exposure.

It involved recruiting large numbers of advocates who all shared those short messages and stories with family, friends and colleagues – when it made sense to do so, when a conversation was already happening.

(Don’t knock people’s doors outside of set democratic processes like elections or referendums. People will accept the need to engage when a decision is imminent but do not appreciate being disturbed at home when there is no decision to make…)

I could piece all of this and more together for you into a detailed campaign strategy (I’ve of course been thinking about this an awful lot). But I don’t want to get derailed into a discussion of one specific strategy versus another.

I am trying to make there simple points:

(1) It is not only possible to change people’s opinions without media support and without a referendum, it is absolutely bog standard and it happens everywhere all the time.

(2) The tools to do it are well known and well developed, easy to pick up and shown to be effective.

(3) But it only happens with a strategy, with infrastructure and with coordination.

It’s time to be brutally honest with ourselves. Without a majority of the Scottish public supporting independence, there will be no independence. Calling a fast referendum is a reckless gamble if we don’t have the public support – and we won’t get one anyway. But we can definitely move public opinion, so long as we do the things that move public opinion.

And much as I like a march and respect the crucial role of solidarity and motivation they impart, there is next to no evidence that street stalls or marching or chapping doors works unless a decision-point (a specific deadline when the public knows it has to make a choice) is immanent.

We’ve been trying to use ‘official campaign period’ tactics outside an official campaign (in part because so many came to this anew in 2014 and are just repeating what they learned to do then). It’s not working. So we need to put A LOT of effort into doing the things that work outside an official campaign.

The fastest way to get to independence is to move opinion then trigger a vote. The fastest way to move opinion is to form a solid, shared strategy and then put our shoulders behind it. It doesn’t in any way rule out more radical tactics (like civil disobedience) if there are barriers later – in fact, it’s a precondition for those tactics.

I reject wait and see – wait and see whether the never-ending trail of bread crumbs really leads to a referendum announcement, wait and see if Westminster says yes even if we ask, wait and see what happens if we get a knock-back.

I embrace get-the-fuck-on-with-it. That means campaigning properly with a strategy, a message, resources and coordination. Talking carefully and cleverly to undecided voters is the real fight we need to fight – not damned parliamentary debates with braying Tories.

Comments (32)

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  1. TartanRevolution says:

    You left out a crucial part about how we (normal people) get behind a strategy – how do we get involved with SIC, for example?

    I confounds me that Robin has been the only significant person within the independence movement, that I ever hear from, who even mentions the word strategy. Commonweal seems to be the only organization that has tired to capture and further some of the momentum built up during 2014, and look seriously at issues like currency etc. At this point, 5 years on from Sep 2014, Scotland should be brimming with Independence energy, campaign strategies and concrete policy proposals. But the SNP seem to have squandered most of that positive energy, instead of build on it! Can someone explain what the Scottish government have been doing?

  2. Jack Welch says:

    This is an excellent piece. I totally agree with the sentiments and mechanisms to move us forward to a stage where momentum and a decisive decision for independence is created.

    1. Blair says:

      I totally agree. We really need to have The SNP on board from the start else we will be waiting until another generation of politicians is in power. I would like to see Mhairi Black MP be invoved because I can see her reaching more people on social media. YES lets do it again because we have not had the best of both worlds.

  3. Mary McCabe says:

    I agree with many of Robin’s points. We must develop answers to the issues which (understandably) caught us unawares last time. Currency was never an issue in previous indy movements so we hadn’t prepared for that. But with the collapse of the banks the focus went on to currency. The Unionists and their tame media noticed this was a weak spot and so built it into the major issue.

    Next time they’ll turn something else into the major issue. So we must have academics on their toes prepared to research, produce and (hardest of all) publicise responses/rebuttals to whatever the media promote as the Unionist argument of the day.

    I don’t think the Scottish Government (if they genuinely are still aiming at independence rather than respectable acceptance/competent management of the devolved powers) should delay asking for a referendum. Asking for a referendum draws attention to the issue and keeps it alive. After all there will be years rather than months between first asking for Article 30 and actually getting a referendum – if we ever do. So we keep laying down the markers. When it’s refused ask again every few months. And all the while the academics can be planning out the new country in all its variants.

    The main problem will be getting the attention of the soft Nos. Most of these folk aren’t primarily interested in politics and don’t appreciate the links between constitutional issues and the bread and butter stuff. The media will encourage the yawn factor at every point.

    That’s where the stalls, the door-chapping and – yes – the mass rallies come in. When the media say “Nobody’s interested in any more” and then people see a stall in the street or somebody chaps the door; when they personalise it as “Sturgeon’s obsession” or “Salmond’s vanity project” and then 100,000 attend a little-reported rally some people start to distrust the media and wonder what else is secret, why it’s secret, and whether maybe it does matter after all.

    And yes – if our surveys start to show a sustained groundswell of support and our request for another indyref is knocked back for the sixth time then the baton is back over to our MPs to cause havoc on the green benches: stage repeated walkouts, filibuster, chant “Independence! ” whenever the PM gets up to speak. The media will call it childish. Those voters would rather be polite than free won’t support us. But they wouldn’t anyway.

    1. Block says:

      “Next time they’ll turn something else into the major issue. ”

      Why, when the currency issue is every bit as valid today as it was in 2014, and this time around you won’t have Salmond brushing it aside with a claim that we’ll force the rUK into a currency union against their will.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Listen up, troll alias Block

        I just came back from Prague, Czech republic.

        Guess what? They’re in the EU.

        Guess what else? They have their own currency, the Czech crown.

        Guess what too? They don’t have any oil! Can you imagine? A country which is independent which doesnay have oil? Who would have thought it!

        And they don’t have whisky, and they don’t have English language services, and they don’t of course, have several universities in the top 100 ranking, because no country Scotland’s size does….except for Scotland.

        Guess what troll? You’re an ignorant fool… now move along you stupid person.

        1. Kenny Smith says:

          Hear hear brother, sometimes a flee needs flicked

        2. Block says:

          Guess what – we need a solution fit for Scotland, not the Czech Republic.

      2. John B Dick says:

        It was YES that led the campaign with the currency issue. For whatever reason it was the opening salvo.

        Somebody sonewhere must have thought it would lance the boil of an obvious NO issue. Instead, some may have settled on it as the first (maybe most important) issue, Made a judgement on the currency issue and logged off.

        I thought it was tactical error to open the campaign with a defensive stance rather than a list of the most exciting thing we could do with independence that can’t be done without.

        I could give you a list of the choices that would have the strongest appeal for me, but that would lead to a diversion because my list isn’t the same as your list or the list which is thewillofthepeople.

        Maybe we should ask people

        “What do you think would be the most important and valuable thing that Scotland could do as an independent nation that is not possible as part of the UK?

        Then they might start to wonder if independence might be a good thing, instead of looking for problems and evaluating YES excuses. That would be in furtherance of the Founding Principles and there might be some good new ideas too,

  4. Charles L. Gallagher says:

    Robin makes some good points but let’s start by stating the one thing that binds us all together – INDEPENDENCE. Prior to the 2014 Indy Ref we eventually built-up a good head-of-steam whereby Left Wingers, Soft Left, Centrist’s, Soft Right, Right Wingers and those with no political leanings came together. A very good friend of mine an Englishman and by admission a natural Tory voter but nevertheless a dedicated supporter of YES as he had seen for himself having lived in Scotland for many years just how badly Scotland has been treated by Wastemonster and how little of this neglect is ever reported by London-centric media bias.

    So we must eliminate from the outset those issues that will be for the Scottish People to decide for themselves after Independence, e.g. head of state (republic or monarchy and if monarchy what type of monarchy), membership of EU or EFTA, membership of NATO and what type of member, should we declare ourselves as a Neutral State like Switzerland or Ireland and many other issues which can only be resolved after Independence.

  5. Redgauntlet says:

    Robin, you don’t get what is happening man, your piece makes no reference to the Brexit madness at all, and as far as I can make out, your opinion about how to move towards independence hasn’t changed one iota because of Brexit. I suspect you misunderstand what Brexit actually is, and if I recall right you were pretty lukewarm about Remain at best.

    Brexit is a full on right-wing coup organized behind the scenes and carefully orchestrated by the the neo-liberal elite whose aim is to sweep away what remains of the post War settlement in terms of the Welfare State and workers rights, not to forget environmental rights too and the rights of non UK born citizens resident in Britain.

    We have been travelling down the same path since Margaret Thatcher won the 1979 General Election, Brexit is the terminus point for the most extreme right wing political move against ordinary working people seen anywhere in Europe since WWII.

    First the Tory neo liberal under Thatcher right took on and crushed the trade union movement and local government too in the early 80’s. Then they took over the Labour Party and turned it into a force for neo-liberalism, empire and war.

    Now the last stronghold of rights written into law, which is to say, written into EU law in this case, is to be destroyed by leaving the EU in the most disorderly way possible. They want No Deal, they want martial law and a state of emergency.

    I am in favour of a motion being presented to the Scottish Parliament on March 30th 2019 calling for the Scottish government to make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence on March 30th 2019 on the exceptional grounds that Scottish sovereignty has been systematically violated over the last few years, and many of the rights of Scottish citizens, currently written into European law, are being removed from them against their will.

    I am in favour of a cross party government of national emergency being chosen to negotiate what can be negotiated with Westminster from March 30th 2019.

    If you want to be taken seriously, the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish government must stand up to what is biggest and most outrageous removal of democratic rights – rights won over centuries of struggle by ordinary working people – in modern European history…

  6. Redgauntlet says:

    Just last night the Labour Party shamefully colluded in the removal of the Right to Freedom of Movement within the EU.

    What did Bella readers get in return? Did anybody receive a cheque in the post from Her Majesty’s government, a pay rise, a pension increase maybe? Or was there nothing in return, zero, zilch?

    Am I the only one who got sweet FA in return for the removal of one of the most important rights we have to live the life we choose to live, the happiness we choose to pursue, the career path we wish to follow?

    I got nothing in return for the losing my right to freedom of movement, nothing at all. SFA.

    I’m not for chapping on the doors of ordinary people, I’m for kicking in the doors of Power in the UK…

    1. Joe Killman says:

      Powerful stuff RG and am with you 110%. How to get this through to our people?? Keep up the info flow.

    2. Alf Baird says:

      If Scottish sovereignty means anything then Mr. Blackford’s Scotland majority of democratically elected Nationalist MP’s and Holyrood’s Nationalist majority of MSP’s must assert that sovereignty.

  7. Block says:

    “I start from the assumption that what people want is independence as quickly as is possible. ”
    16 polls were taken last year and they all showed that most people don’t want independence at all.

    “The active course of action is to start a proper national campaign now (no more waiting), and it is that I’m fighting for. ”
    A new campaign is utterly pointless given that the economic case for independence died in 2014 when Westminster said “never” to currency union & the price oil went below $60. Everyone in Scotland knows that between a Yes vote and Independence Day Scotland’s GDP would reduce by double digits, and would do so because of permanent losses (Barnett spending, the Finance industry) that can’t be easily replaced.

    Independence was a nice idea, and it has strong emotional appeal. Problem is, its costs far outweight its benefits.

    1. Wul says:

      Block: “Everyone in Scotland knows……”

      Classic Trumpian & Alt-Right attempt to turn a minority opinion into received “common sense” which must not be examined. “Hey, it’s “common sense” folks!”, “It can’t be questioned.”, “Everyone knows that….”

      Here’s a few golden oldies from the same source book:
      “Everyone knows that white folks are superior to black folks”
      “Everyone knows that women can’t understand politics and shouldn’t have the vote”
      “Everyone knows that poor people are feckless”
      “Everyone knows that Indians couldn’t run their own country”
      “Everyone knows that Africans couldn’t run their own country”
      “Everyone knows that Americans couldn’t run their own country”
      “Everyone knows that gays couldn’t fight for their country”

      Was there ever a country seeking independence from the UK that wasn’t told it was impossible?

      Block, if you were so sure of your own pish arguments, you wouldn’t be on here trolling.

      1. Block says:

        Wul, can you point me to an opinion poll showing 60% support for independence?

  8. Swiss Toni says:

    You need to make a positive case for Scotland leaving the UK rather than continually badmouthing “Westminster”.

    Over the past 300 years Scotland, as part of the Union, has had far more influence on the world than any nation of a similar size.

    That is not to say that the Union has a divine right to last forever but if you infer that Scotland is being oppressed and exploited under the current arrangements won’t do anything to convince the people you need to convince.

    The Holyrood parliament is a platform to give a glimpse of what an independent Scotland might look like. I can’t see that it has done very much thusfar to make Scotland a better place to live in. Too much virtue signalling, Nanny state policies and whingeing about Westminster.

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      People like you, Swiss Tony, are just unbelievable….

      The mouths of 500 million Europeans have been permanently gaping for the last few months as they watch a once highly respected country making a complete mockery of itself and its democracy, with a bipolar PM who votes against her own deal, and a Leader of the Opposition who ought to be treated for clinical idiocy he seems so incapable of turning a catastrophic situation to his party’s account…

      … while MPs run around in circles, day after day, with motions and amendments and completely arbitrary red lines, all because of a referendum funded by dirty money and distorted by Cambridge Analytics and a campaign of lies which posed a highly complicated question in the simplest possible way to which one could only respond with a monosyllabic answer…

      You might as well have asked the British electorate if they believe in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity… you would have got a similar result.

      The EU is the most wealthy trading area of the world bar none at all. It has the highest living standards, the highest life expectancy, the lowest infant mortality rates, the greatest social welfare provision and the freest press and most independent judiciary IN THE WHOLE WORLD and AT ANY TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY.

      Only a country of complete upper class buffoons who are completely out of touch with any reality other than their own sordid upper class world would even contemplate leaving the EU…

      The Scots, much wiser than their English neighbours, voted to remain in this most fruitful and successful project called the EU.

      We should assert our sovereignty now to ensure we do not lose the same rights that 500 million Europeans currently enjoy…

      At the very least, this idea should be debated in our national parliament at Holyrood…

    2. Wul says:

      “……Scotland, as part of the Union, has had far more influence on the world than any nation of a similar size.”

      That’s the problem right there, ignoramus.

      We don’t want to influence the world. We want to influence our own country, in a sane manner, as if it were exactly the size that it is.

      Why don’t you go off and punch-above-your-weight-on-the-world-stage somewhere? I’d suggest Belgium.

  9. Stewart Kerr Brown says:

    Just a pity I can’t post the images of our first Streetstall of the year we had on Saturday…a month after our last…nor the multiple others we’ve held…nor the merchandise that we’ve just put out…nor the countless social media flyers not to mention printed materials we’ve produced…cause we’ve been sitting on our arses doing nothing for the past few years…but thank god…our white night has arrived…

    1. Toni Young says:

      I absolutely agree. I know several groups, Yes, Pensioners, SNP etc, who have been out at lease once a week, recently 3 times per week with stalls on different streets, for months past. It would be nice if the ones who hold themselves to be “leaders” could take notice of all those groups and the amount of activity and effort we put in.

      1. Stewart Kerr Brown says:

        The communication with the grassroots has been appalling and any contact has been from the grassroots up…no reaching out from…as you say…folk that would lead…how can you lead when you can’t get your own side on board?

  10. Tartanfever says:

    It is bizarre that Brexit is not even mentioned by Robin.

    The real failure for me has not really been at the hands of the SNP, although at times they have been lacklustre. The failure has been the grass roots level of organisations like Robin’s and others that have totally failed on the reporting of Brexit.

    Why do I have to rely on London based media commentators and their news sites for commentary on Brexit ? The coverage up here as been disappointing.

    BBC Scotland News only talks about Brexit in basic, safe terms – no hard questioning, Scotland in Union and other nationalist websites won’t cover Brexit as they know it weakens their arguments. The Tories up here avoid it. It like Kryptonite to them.

    Polls show a No Deal Brexit would boost Scottish Independence support well above a winning margin.

    Yet, what are we doing, we’re talking about how to get people talking in cafe’s so that they can be overheard talking sensibly about Scottish Independence.

    Tonight in Westminster a series of amendments and votes brings a No Deal closer, and we have a ‘problem’ on how to approach a new Independence campaign ?

    At least the bloody SNP have been going their dinger about Brexit.

    Seriously Robin, the starting pistol for a new campaign started in summer of 2016, stop pissing about.

    1. Tartanfever says:

      So just as an example of what we have failed to do , here’s this. After today’s disasters at Westminster here’s Ian Dunt with an immediate write up. (I realise he’s not popular with everyone, but for me , his Brexit coverage has been good.)

      This kind of thing should have been the bread and butter of a new campaign, or ‘ How to Gain Support for Scottish Independence Without Ever Having To Mention Independence’ – I know, we could have saved ourselves a fortune on’ Latte’s for the Right Kind of People overheard Discussing Independence in Popular Coffee Establishments’ (Robin’s Campaign)

      Here’s a link:

  11. john burrows says:

    “Change is coming” – and all of it for the worst as long as we remain in the UK.

    I’ll give you another one that perhaps is more relevant for these mad times – “Events dear boy, events.” – Howard Macmillan.

    How you can continue to propose a gradualist approach, while the house is burning down around us, is a complete mystery to me. I guess you will just have to be carried along in the flood like the rest of us.

    Don’t get me wrong. Your calm and reasonable positions are worth the time for reading them. I really appreciate your discussions on how we approach post referendum practicalities.

    And I admire your stamina. But I still don’t see how your proposed strategy would inspire pensioners to vote for independence. These folks are the largest demographic opposed to independence.

    To chip around the edges to pick up “soft NO’s” is underhanded.

    All generations of the Scottish electorate must embrace independence. It is the only honest way forward.

    BREXIT is currently the gift that keeps on giving.

    The UK and the Tory/Labour parties are doing all of our heavy lifting for us.

    I expect with the announcement of an independence campaign, of whatever variety, a flood of remain refugees from rUK will be upping stakes and moving to Scotland to vote YES.

    We wouldn’t likely have to lift a finger to gain a majority.

  12. Willie says:

    From reading this further piece from friend Robin I am not sure if he recognises that Brexit is happening, that basic human rights are being trampled, that democratic choice is being trod underfoot.

    Does he even know that austerity, fuel poverty, food banks, and the hostile embankment are extant and all around.

    Certainly seems not with his sit it out until the time is right strategy .

    C’mon Robin, we are all on the same side, the time is now and if it isn’t you’ll soon find out soon enough when you get your striped pyjamas and big gold star .

    And if you can’t see what’s happening here, take a read of the democracy being dished out in NI.

  13. David Fee says:

    Laying aside the behaviour of rampant Unionists for a moment, it is already impossible to keep the lid on the name calling that comes from the Independence (our) side towards anyone who won’t acknowledge their own stupidity in failing to denounce the Union. If the SNP don’t call for a referendum after this toxic Brexit then that kettle is likely to explode out of sheer frustration. Regardless of whether Robin is right or not, a delayed referendum would, I suspect, lead to far more polarisation, tribalism and factionilism within the Independence movement. The unionist media-friendly publicity resulting from that would be far worse than any bad impression that might be left were we, as likely will happen, to be refused a second referendum by Westminster.

    So, like most people, and despite Robin’s calm analysis, I’m still on the side of a referendum ASAP. However, I totally agree with him that story telling is the way to go during any upcoming independence referendum campaign. Every community in Scotland will already have organisations, groups and individuals who are capably demonstrating independence and the possibilities of change before we even get to it at a political level. Those stories matter. The message should be: “If They Can, We Can”. It doesn’t take a long time to tell that story. And now we can tell it in the context of a Westminster Parliament which has clearly demonstrated that it, quite clearly, can’t.

  14. Sandy Monteath says:

    Complete and utter codswallop times two ! ?

  15. Jeanne Tomlin says:

    Nonsense. The shortest way to move opinion is to start a referendum campaign. That was what moved opinion last time. It is what will work this time.

    1. Block says:

      Last time oil was $100 a barrel and the campaign was telling everyone that the rUK were going to shoulder the biggest the cost of independence by entering into a currency union with us.

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